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High-Sensitivity C-Reactive Protein Test

Last updated Sept. 16, 2016

Approved by: Krish Tangella MD, MBA, FCAP

What are the other Names for this Test? (Equivalent Terms)

  • High-Sensitivity CRP Test
  • hs-CRP Test
  • Ultra-Sensitive CRP Test 

What is High-Sensitivity C-Reactive Protein Test? (Background Information)

  • C-reactive protein (CRP) supports inflammation by binding to dead or damaged cells and recruiting the complement proteins of the immune system
  • After macrophages digest injured cells, they release factors that stimulate the liver to produce CRP. CRP then, further fuels the inflammatory response and their levels increase in response to inflammation
  • This happens as a result of various injurious stimuli, such as trauma, heart attack, or chronic cell injury, which occurs due to artery disease. Large increases in CRP levels signal massive trauma, whereas smaller increases may indicate more subtle damage
  • The High-Sensitivity C-Reactive Protein (hs-CRP) Test is a blood test that measures small increases of C-reactive protein in blood. It is used to assess chronic inflammation, as a result of cardiovascular diseases. The high sensitivity of the hs-CRP Test enables to measure small increases in CRP 

What are the Clinical Indications for performing the High-Sensitivity C-Reactive Protein Test?

Following are the clinical indications for performing a High-Sensitivity C-Reactive Protein Test:

  • Evaluation of cardiovascular disease risk
  • Monitoring treatment or progression of cardiovascular disease
  • High blood pressure
  • Diabetes
  • Fatigue
  • Pale appearance
  • Rapid heart rate
  • Trouble breathing
  • Chest pain radiating to the jaw
  • Tingling in the extremities
  • Dizziness
  • Seizure 

How is the Specimen Collected for High-Sensitivity C-Reactive Protein Test?

Following is the specimen collection process for High-Sensitivity C-Reactive Protein Test:

Sample required: Blood

Process: Insertion of a needle into an arm vein.

Preparation required: Fasting for 9-12 hours may be necessary, prior to the test. 

What is the Significance of the High-Sensitivity C-Reactive Protein Test Result?

  • Increased C-reactive protein (CRP) levels correlate with increasing risk for cardiovascular disease 

The laboratory test results are NOT to be interpreted as results of a "stand-alone" test. The test results have to be interpreted after correlating with suitable clinical findings and additional supplemental tests/information. Your healthcare providers will explain the meaning of your tests results, based on the overall clinical scenario. 

Additional and Relevant Useful Information:

  • The High-Sensitivity C-Reactive Protein Test is often performed alongside a lipid profile, to better assess an individual’s cardiovascular health
  • Certain factors may interfere with the results of this test. These include inflammation-producing conditions, such as recent surgery and rheumatoid arthritis, which cause an increase in CRP 

Certain medications that you may be currently taking may influence the outcome of the test. Hence, it is important to inform your healthcare provider, the complete list of medications (including any herbal supplements) you are currently taking. This will help the healthcare provider interpret your test results more accurately and avoid unnecessary chances of a misdiagnosis. 

What are some Useful Resources for Additional Information?

DoveMed is currently working to bring you additional resources.

Please sign up by creating a DoveMed account to receive periodic notification on information updates. 

References and Information Sources used for the Article:

Kumar, V., Abbas, A. K., Aster, J. C., & Robbins, S. L. (2013). Robbins basic pathology (9th ed.). Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier/Saunders.

Lab Tests Online (2013, November 19). Retrieved July 13, 2014 from http://labtestsonline.org/understanding/analytes/hscrp/

Schnell, Z. B., Van, L. A., & Kranpitz, T. R. (2003). Davis's Comprehensive handbook of laboratory and diagnostic tests: With nursing implications. Philadelphia: F.A. Davis.

Thompson, D. (1999). The physiological structure of human C-reactive protein and its complex with phosphocholine. Structure7(2), 169-77.

Reviewed and Approved by a member of the DoveMed Editorial Board
First uploaded: July 17, 2014
Last updated: Sept. 16, 2016